Political bias and the future of journalism

2017-09-11 08:13

In class, there are bright red and yellow flecks of colour within the greys. The colours of opposition parties as they rally for their teams like sports houses at high school. Journalist students brandishing their political affiliation proudly.

As a first-year student, I fear the future of journalism in our country. Articles and group projects become moulded by not so hidden agendas. The first thing you learn as a journalist is to be unbiased and fair. How can you achieve this creditable standard of writing when you are trying to further your political aspirations?

Writing articles on the upcoming elections while wearing a political shirt and openly stating that “I will tell people to vote for my party.” How will that article appear unbiased?

Students in the class room erupt into arguments that echo throughout the halls. Politics being the topic of debate. It is no crime to have a party and be involved in politics while studying journalism. However, when your bias begins to creep its way into your work, your journalistic credibility will crumble.

SRC elections and fees must fall demonstrations, just a few of the involvements of students. But as journalists you have to understand the importance of the separation between your political influences and factual and objective writing.

The first years of 2017 are the future of journalism and I worry that writing in the future will become a mouth piece for the then ruling party. And not fulfil the medias role in exposing injustice and keeping the people informed about the wrong doings of the government.

Classroom debates become more about defending your political party than stating facts and having a rational discussion. “It is up to us to interpret what politicians say,” says a student. The lecturer for the first time interjected within the discussion with a tone of disapproval in his voice, “they pay to have speech writers it is their responsibility to say what they mean.”

We need to be unbiased as journalists in order to fulfil the role of the media and keep the injustices such as the Esidimeni tragedy from occurring again. I feel that the most vocal of the class may not be able to fulfil this role.

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